MS Educational Leadership

Degree Overview

Our online master's degree program in educational leadership will prepare you to lead your own school. The M.S. in Educational Leadership will prepare you for certification as a principal, vice principal, or assistant principal. Graduates of our program have become highly effective, instruction-based principals.

Is this program accepted in your state?

Who the Program is For

  • Experienced, licensed classroom teachers who are interested in becoming school principals.
  • Individuals who can typically spend 15 or more hours per week on their studies.

Note: WGU is the first exclusively online university to receive NCATE accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure, a testament to the fact that WGU graduates "have the knowledge and skills to be effective in helping all students learn."

This program will be flexible and adaptable to your schedule. Click here to learn more about how your program works.

Learn more about why you should choose WGU.

View the Program Guide (PDF)

What You'll Learn

Essential Knowledge and Skills

WGU's online master's degree program in educational leadership requires the completion of coursework and a capstone project, ensuring that you have the essential skills and knowledge become a principal.

Key Subject Areas

These Courses Add to Your Credentials

  • Governance, Finance, Law, and Leadership for Principals
  • Performance Excellence Criteria for educational leaders
  • Strategic Planning for educational leaders
  • Student, Stakeholder, and Market Focus for educational leaders
  • Capstone Written Project in educational leadership
  • Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management for educational leaders
  • Workforce Focus for educational leaders
  • Process Management for Educational leaders
  • Comprehensive educational leadership Integration
  • Practicum in educational leadership

Note: This program is based on multiple philosophies, including that of the principal as the instructional team leader, the standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), and the principles of the Baldrige National Quality Program's Education Criteria for Performance Excellence.

Download the Program Guide       View the Course Study       More Info about Teacher Licensure

Capstone Project:
The online M.S. in Educational Leadership degree program also requires the successful completion of a capstone project.

The capstone project is the culmination of your degree program and a chance to showcase what you've learned. You'll work with areal-world situation, developing and proposing a solution to an actual issue in your field. When you've completed it, you'll be able to share it with your colleagues—it will be a great demonstration of your knowledge and skill in educational leadership.

Go ahead, show everyone what you can do.

Prepare for a Life-Changing Career in Education

Make a Difference in a Child's Life

Earning your educational leadership degree online at Western Governors University will prepare you for the job you've always dreamed of—leading your own school. When you complete your M.S. in Educational Leadership, you'll be ready to become certified and begin your career as a principal, vice principal, or school administrator.

How Your Program Works

A Degree Program That Fits Your Schedule

WGU's online degree programs are designed to let you study and learn on your time, not according to a class schedule. Our Teachers College programs are flexible and put YOU at the center of your education: You choose when and where to complete your coursework. Once you demonstrate your competency in a subject area, you can move on to your next course.

Online learning is not easy.

You should expect to work hard and spend 20 hours or more per week on your studies. Still, your program will be flexible enough to fit into your schedule, not the other way around.

How Long It Will Take?

That Depends on You

The average time it takes to complete a Master of Science in Educational Leadership degree program at WGU is 2 to 2½ years. Our competency-based approach, which allows you to advance through your courses using the skills and knowledge you already have, means that the time to complete a degree can vary from student to student. The amount of time it will take you depends upon three factors:

  1. The knowledge and skills you already possess in the field.
  2. The amount of time you spend working on your program each week.
  3. Your self-motivation and determination.

The M.S. Educational Leadership degree program requires the completion of 40 competency units (CUs), which are WGU's credit equivalents.

While you cannot transfer credits directly toward completion of this program, your transcripts will be used to determine whether you have the necessary academic content background in educational leadership for enrollment. A personal evaluation of your transcripts from prior colleges is required prior to admission.

Ultimately, the pace at which you complete your M.S. in Educational Leadership online degree program depends on how rapidly you pass assessments.

It's your program. It's up to you. Move at your own speed.

How Competency-Based Education Benefits You

Put Your Existing Knowledge to Work

WGU was the first university in the country to employ a cutting-edge, competency-based learning model that lets you use skills and knowledge you already have to accelerate your degree program.

In WGU's online Master of Science in Educational Leadership degree program, students advance by demonstrating their competence in each subject area. You'll be able to move quickly through material you already know so you can spend your time focusing on what you still need to learn.

  • You'll work with a faculty member assigned to you, your Mentor, on a personalized Degree Plan that establishes the pace at which you move through the program.
  • You'll collaborate with your Faculty Mentor to determine the learning resources that will help you develop and demonstrate your competency in each subject area.
  • With few exceptions, you'll be able to choose when and where you study.
  • You'll be required to complete at least eight CUs per term (typically four courses) to make On Time Progress, and you can add courses and move more quickly if you choose to and are able.
  • You'll complete as much work as YOU choose during each six-month term.

How To Save Time AND Money

Graduate with Less Student Debt, or None at All

Example Student A:

Total Credits in Program: 40

Time to complete: 2 years (4 terms)

Tuition: $11,560

Example Student B:

Total Credits in Program: 40

Time to complete: 18 months (3 terms)

Tuition: $8,670

We're committed to keeping tuition low and ensuring that our online teacher education programs are the very best value for our students. WGU doesn't spend money on classrooms, research facilities, or football stadiums. Instead, we focus on keeping costs low. In fact, we haven't increased tuition since 2008.

WGU is Half the Cost
WGU's Master of Science in Educational Leadership Degree Program is about half the cost of a comparable program at another online university.

The Faster You Go, the More You Save
Because of WGU's flat-rate tuition, the faster you go, the more you save. Tuition is charged at a flat rate every six months and covers all coursework attempted in that time. Our competency-based approach means you'll have the opportunity to accelerate your progress; if you complete your program ahead of schedule, you'll save both time and money.

WGU University of Phoenix Penn State World Campus
$2,890 per six month term.
If it takes two years = $11,560
38 credit hours x $585 per credit = $22,230 30 credit hours x $784 per credit = $23,520

WGU's online Master's in Educational Leadership degree program is designed to be affordable for hardworking adults with bills to pay.

Here's what it costs:

  • $2,890: Tuition per 6-Month Term
  • $145: Resource Fee per 6-Month Term
  • $65: One-Time Application Fee

For this program, you'll be expected to complete 8 competency units (credit hours) per term – each course generally represents three or four competency units. Because we allow you to complete extra courses at no extra cost, you may be able to increase the value of your program by dedicating extra time to your studies.

Teacher education programs may include additional fees, including ones for take-home labs, demonstration teaching, and/or the educational leadership practicum.

  • You pay for time—not credits.
  • Your tuition does not go up if you complete additional courses in any give six-month term.
  • The more courses you complete each term the shorter the time to your finished degree.

Financial Aid

It's Okay to Ask for Help

While WGU's low, flat-rate tuition is intended to help you graduate without putting your financial future at risk, there are times when responsible borrowing is a good option.

Federal financial aid is available to many students.

Learn more about tuition and fees.

Compare WGU tuition to tuition at other schools.

This Program Will Help Your Career

WGU Degrees are Recognized, Respected, and Accredited

Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and was the first exclusively online university to receive accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The NCATE accrediting team extensively reviewed the entire WGU Teachers College curriculum to ensure that “candidates have the knowledge and skills to be effective in helping all students learn.” This involved intensive interviews with students, faculty, graduates, school district personnel, and education experts, as well as a review of WGU student performance on national performance exams.

WGU is an NEA Academy Partner.

WGU is also supported by over 20 major corporations and foundations who believe in the university's commitment to producing highly competent graduates. Several of these corporations continue to serve on our National Advisory Board.

Learn more about accreditation here.

An education degree from WGU tells schools and school districts that you've learned what you need to know to be a great educator. Take the next step.

WGU Graduate Success

Just Ask Employers

Our latest survey of employers of WGU graduates speaks volumes about our ability to prepare grads to work in many industries:

As a graduate of WGU, you'll have a valued credential that is recognized by employers. You can learn more about how employers view WGU graduates by exploring our Student Success and Performance Data.

How a Course Works

Prove What You Know and Move Forward

When you enroll in the M.S. Educational Leadership program at WGU, you'll advance by mastering course content, then completing and passing challenging assessments that prove that you've learned what you need to know for each subject area.

These rigorous assessments (tests, papers, assignments, and projects) let you demonstrate your competence in each subject area in order to pass the course and earn competency units (CUs), or credit equivalents.

WGU sets a high standard, and we want our students to succeed. You'll be given ample opportunity to master subject matter, and be allowed a limited number of re-takes.

Get Started

Apply and Enroll

To be admitted into this Teachers College program, you need to submit an official transcript verifying receipt of a baccalaureate degree (B.A. or B.S.) from a regionally accredited institution. You are also required to possess a current, valid teaching license and have a minimum of three years of recent and successful classroom teaching experience or other successful leadership experience as a certificated educator. See more about Teachers College admissions requirements and overall admissions information.

Speak to an enrollment counselor and apply today. You'll be on your way to transforming your career.

Request More Information


Questions & Answers

Click a question, see the answer to the right.

Will my state recognize my degree?

Yes. The WGU Teachers College currently serves over 10,000 students throughout the United States. Our master’s degrees are accepted as innovative, leading-edge, credible programs. All teaching programs at WGU are also NCATE-accredited. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor for more details. You can also learn more about WGU’s Student Success and Performance Data.

How will I complete my degree?

As a WGU student you will combine the knowledge you already possess with online courses and independent learning resources to prepare for rigorous assessments that measure your progress in the program. Together with your mentor, you will develop a Degree Plan based upon your personal strengths and weaknesses. You can learn more by exploring the WGU Experience. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor who can explain the program in more depth.

Is financial aid available?

Yes, WGU offers federal financial aid. Loans are available to most students, regardless of financial need, and grants that don’t requirement repayment are available for those with financial need. You can check into your financial aid eligibility at any time during the admissions process. Learn more from an Enrollment Counselor or visit the Financial Aid section of the website.